Mourning the Loss of a Justice, and Debate over the Supreme Court's Future

Current Events, History of Supreme Court Nominations, ScholarCheck
Shannon Furtak

Last weekend, the U.S. Supreme Court lost one of its most vocal, controversial, and polarizing justices in modern history. Antonin Scalia, who was appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1986, was the longest-serving justice on the Supreme Court. He was the leading conservative voice on the Court, known for his outspoken personality and his advocacy for textualism in statutory interpretation and originalism in constitutional interpretation.

Scalia's sudden death has caused a new controversy between the Republican and Democratic parties: should Barack Obama nominate Scalia's successor, or should that task be the responsibility of the 2016 Presidential election winner? Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell believes the next administration should make the appointment, but President Obama has the right to nominate a successor in a timely manner. Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid contends that failing to fill the vacancy for that length of time would be "a shameful abdication of one of the Senate's most essential Constitutional responsibilities," according to this CNN article. The article also states that Scalia's death could turn the 2016 election into a battle for the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court, which will surely increase tensions during an already contentious election year.

Antonin Scalia, who is cited by more than 4,300 articles and 172 cases, and whose articles were accessed nearly 1,900 times by other HeinOnline users during the past 12 months, is ranked at number 17 by ScholarCheck. HeinOnline's ScholarCheck tool ranks law review article authors using four metrics: number of times cited by articles (overall), number of times cited by articles written in the past 10 years, number of times cited by cases, and number of times accessed by other HeinOnline users within a rolling 12-month period. This list of the top 250 HeinOnline authors also includes other past and present Supreme Court Justices, such as Samuel D. Warren, Louis D. Brandeis, William H. Rehnquist, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In addition to being a prolific author, Scalia is a popular subject among other legal scholars. Searching for "Antonin Scalia" OR "Justice Scalia" in the article title field using the Law Journal Library's Advanced Search tool produces more than 200 results:

Learn more about Justice Scalia in HeinOnline's History of Supreme Court Nominations collection. This volume of The Supreme Court of the United States: Hearings and Reports on Successful and Unsuccessful Nominations of Supreme Court Justices by the Senate Judiciary Committee details the chronology of Scalia's appointment to the Court.

With Scalia's passing, some of of his more memorable quotes have been compiled. The New Yorker lists selected quotes from Scalia's dissents in this article, and writes about other memorable quotes here, including:

The Constitution is “not a living document,” he told the SMU crowd in 2013. “It’s dead, dead, dead.” Scalia added, “The judge who always likes the results he reaches is a bad judge.”
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